Obvious overload led inspectors to discover series of offences

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After stopping a van towing a trailer with a market stall which was obviously bigger than permitted, German inspectors found numerous problems with the towing, the van, and the goods transported. By the end of the day, another trailer, the food standards and health services, and a disposal company, were all involved in the story.

Obvious overload led inspectors to discover series of offences
Photo credits @ Police motorway station Bad Hersfeld

On Thursday afternoon, an unusual combination caught the eyes of the HGV inspectors at the Bad Hersfeld police motorway station in Germany. The vehicle which caught their attention was a 3.5-tonne van towing a trailer with a market stall on it. The main attraction was the stall which seemed to be in danger of falling down while driving on the motorway due to insufficient load securing.

At a check at a car park on the A4 motorway, the officers found that the market stall had been put on rollers and that the lower area had been improperly fastened with lashing straps, some of which were badly damaged.

According to the inspectors’ report, heavy braking or sudden evasive manoeuvres would in all probability have resulted in a loss of load  – with unforeseeable consequences.

The trailer itself, which was used to transport the market stall, was unsuitable for transporting this load due to the lack of securing options.

Because the rear axle of the towing vehicle in particular also deflected heavily, there was a suspicion that the vehicle combination was overloaded or that the support load from the trailer was too high.

Reloading was thus ordered by the traffic police.

After a look inside the van, it quickly became clear that the inspectors still had a lot to do. In the loading area, semi-preserved goods had been stacked almost up to the roof. A total of 159 plastic buckets with pickled mushrooms and other packaged food clearly overloaded the vehicle.

What’s more, during the journey, some of the groceries had already fallen over and been damaged due to inadequate securing.

Since the van did not have a refrigeration system, the police officers, in addition to the complaints about load securing and overloading problems, now also had to examine whether food safety regulations were followed.

Exceeded best-before dates and the transport of refrigerated food without the appropriate refrigeration equipment in the vehicle prompted the officials involved to call in the specialist service for veterinary affairs and consumer protection of the district.

After an on-site inspection, the food safety expert decreed that the food that needed to be chilled and, of course, that the food that had already expired had to be disposed of properly.

To be on the safe side, the driver of the vehicle was required to submit a corresponding disposal confirmation from a recycling company.

However, since the groceries in the transport vehicle could not be properly secured for a further journey due to the existing loading area, a disposal company had to collect the load on-site.

The trailer ended up being parked and clamped in the parking lot until all the necessary conditions were in place to continue the journey.

Administrative offence proceedings were initiated against the driver and against the vehicle owner. However, the German police haven’t published the value of fines the operator and driver shall face.


Photo credits @ Police motorway station Bad Hersfeld

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